Save Oyster Shell (S.O.S) Program

From Home and Restaurant to Reef

One of the many things that makes our beautiful and bountiful city so unique is the availability of fresh, local and sustainable seafood. What began as a pilot program in 2008, Save Oyster Shell (S.O.S), has blossomed into an ongoing program and partnership with the City of Virginia Beach.

Community members have the opportunity to recycle and donate oyster shell from meals and parties.  We have 4 drop locations across Virginia Beach where you can bring your clean or unclean shell.  We will pick them up and add them to our collection to be used for future reef projects.  Drop sites include:

LRNow Holland Road Office 3712 Holland Rd, Virginia Beach, back parking lot

Brock Environmental Center 3663 Marlin Bay Dr, Virginia Beach

Virginia Aquarium 717 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, East parking lot

Welton’s Seafood Market 940 Laskin Rd, Virginia Beach, parking lot


Fourteen local restaurants have made an environmental commitment to recycle and donate oyster shell from your meal. In 2018, we collected 2,700 bushels of oyster shell. In 2020 and, we exceeded that amount, collecting almost 9,000 bushels of shell, the most amount of shell collected through the S.O.S program on record. Enough to build an acre of reef.

Each S.O.S participant is inspiring our Virginia Beach Community to restore the native oyster population, one bushel at a time! We hope you will patronize them and thank them for their participation:

1608 Crafthouse 1608 Pleasure House Rd, Virginia Beach

Abbey Road Restaurant 203 22nd St, Virginia Beach

Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant 1956 Laskin Rd, Virginia Beach

CP Shuckers (Oceanfront) 2407 Pacific Ave, Virginia Beach

CP Shuckers (Bayside) 3232 Shore Dr

Virginia Beach Dockside Seafood & Fishing Center 3311 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach

Lucky Oyster 2165 General Booth Blvd #154, Virginia Beach

Ocean Eddie’s Seafood Restaurant 1415 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach

Rockafeller’s Restaurant 308 Mediterranean Ave, Virginia Beach

Steinhilber’s Restaurant 653 Thalia Rd, Virginia Beach

Tautog’s 205 23rd St, Virginia Beach

The Atlantic on Pacific 3004 Pacific Ave, Virginia Beach

Simple Eats Restaurant 3152 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach

Arbuckles 4101 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA

501 Kitchen and Bar 501 Birdneck Rd N, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

The Process

After recycled shell is picked up at each restaurant and public drop off site by an LRNow staff member, it is taken to a storage site to sit and cure (rid of any potentially harmful bacteria). After several months, the cured shell is placed back into the water to build sanctuary reefs in Virginia Beach’s waterways. Sanctuary oyster reefs create habitat for hundreds of marine species, filter and clean surrounding water and provide a new home for baby SPAT (oyster larva) to settle and grow new shell.

In addition to the shell recycled by our committed S.O.S. participants, community oyster roasts collectively add several hundred bushels of shell each year. If you or a friend is hosting an oyster roast, several shell drop off sites are located at The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Brock Environmental Center, and Welton’s Seafood Market. OR let us come to you and collect the shell. We will provide you with collection baskets for used shells before the event and will come and pick them up afterwards. Contact us at or call (757) 962-5398 to schedule a pick-up.

Lynnhaven River NOW is a proud partner of the Chesapeake Oyster Alliance: A coalition of over thirty partner groups including nonprofits, community organizations, oyster growers, and others dedicated to helping recover the Bay’s oyster population by putting 10 billion oysters in the Bay by 2025. Currently the Oyster Alliance is at 1.5 billion building toward 10 billion.


PEARL HOMES are places where people care about our environment and want to do what they can to help protect our resources.

Learn more»

Lynnhaven River NOW recognizes schools providing outstanding environmental education as a Pearl School.

Learn More»

PEARL BUSINESSES are essential to truly move towards a more sustainable Virginia Beach and cleaner waters.

Learn More »

We all want to do our part to restore the health of all of our sacred waterways and protect them for future generations to enjoy.

Learn More»

SUSTAINABLE YARDS PROGRAM: Let us help you “green” your Lynnhaven watershed home. This unique program provides specific stormwater management practices to your yard at a significantly reduced cost to you.

Learn More»